Two options

How to upgrade to Windows 10 21H1, May 2021 Update

Use these steps to install Windows 10 21H1 (May 2021 Update) on a device running version 20H2, 2004, 1909, or an older release.

Windows 10 21H1 upgrade options

Starting May 18, 2021, the Windows 10 May 2021 Update (21H1) is officially available, and you can upgrade your computer to the latest version manually whether it has version 20H2, 2004, 1909, or an older release.

Although it is not recommended to rush and install a new feature update as soon as it becomes available to avoid potential bugs and other problems during the early days, you can upgrade manually in at least two ways using the Windows Update settings and Media Creation Tool.

If you have a device with version 20H2 or 2004, the best way to install version 21H1 is using Windows Update. The reason is that the new release of Windows 10 is a small update based on the two previous versions, and you only need an enablement package to upgrade without reinstallation.

However, if the computer has version 1909 or an older release, the Windows Update option is also available, but it will take longer until you receive the new version. If you want to force the upgrade, you can use the Media Creation Tool to perform an in-place upgrade, which is virtually the same as using Windows Update or the Update Assistant, and during the process, it will preserve your files, apps, and settings.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to upgrade version 20H2, 2004, 1909, or an older version to Windows 10 21H1.

Important: These instructions will work whether you are trying to upgrade from version 20H2 to 21H1, 2004 to 21H1, or from any other release, including version 1909, back to the original release (such as 1803, 1709, 1703, 1607, 1511, or 1507).

Upgrade to Windows 10 21H1 from version 20H2 or 2004

To upgrade to Windows 10 21H1 (May 2021 Update) manually from version 20H2 or 2004, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 10.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Windows Update.

  4. Click the Check for updates button (if applicable).

  5. Under the “Feature update to Windows 10, version 21H1” section, click the Download and Install now button.

    Windows 10 21H1 upgrade from 20H2 or 2004
    Windows 10 21H1 upgrade from 20H2 or 2004
    Quick tip: If the option is not available, likely, the update is not ready for your computer.
  6. Click the Restart now button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 10 version 21H1 will install as a regular monthly update on your device without the need for full reinstallation. You can also watch this video tutorial with the instructions to quickly upgrade from version 20H2 or 2004 to the Windows 10 May 2021 Update using Windows Update.

Windows 10 version 21H1 preview 

If you want to test version 21H1 before it becomes available, you will need to enroll the device in the Beta Channel of the Windows Insider Program.

Quick note: After May 18, 2021, this option is no longer recommended.

To install the latest preview of Windows 10 21H1, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.

  4. Click the Get started button.

    Join Windows Insider Program button
    Join the Windows Insider Program button
  5. Click the Link an account button.

    Link an account option
    Link an account option
  6. Sign in with your Microsoft account.

  7. Click the Continue button.

  8. Under the “Pick your Insider settings” section, select the Beta Channel or Release Preview option.

  9. Click the Confirm button.

  10. Click the Confirm button to agree to the terms and conditions.

  11. Click the Restart button.

  12. Open Settings after the reboot.

  13. Click on Update & Security.

  14. Click on Windows Update.

  15. Click the Check for updates button.

  16. Under the “Feature update to Windows 10, version 21H1” section, click the Download and Install now button.

    Windows 10 21H1 upgrade from 20H2 or 2004
    Windows 10 21H1 upgrade from 20H2 or 2004
  17. Click the Restart button.

After you complete the steps, the device will install the May 2021 Update, and it will continue to receive updates for as long as the release is supported. You can also remove the device from the program from the “Windows Insider Program” settings page to prevent upgrading to a follow-up version by turning on the “Stop getting preview builds” toggle switch.

Upgrade to Windows 10 21H1 from version 1909

If you cannot wait to get to receive the update automatically, you can use the Media Creation Tool to upgrade any version of Windows 10 to the May 2021 Update.

To upgrade to Windows 10 21H1 from version 1909, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft support website.

  2. Under the “Create Windows 10 installation media” section, click the Download tool now button.

  3. Save the installer to the device.

  4. Double-click the MediaCreationTool21H1.exe file to launch the tool.

  5. Click the Accept button.

  6. Select the Upgrade this PC now option.

    Upgrade this PC now
    Upgrade this PC now
  7. Click the Accept button again.

  8. Select the option to keep your files and apps (unless it’s not already checked).

  9. Click the Install button.

    Media Creation Tool install option
    Media Creation Tool install option

After you complete the steps, the setup will continue upgrading your device to the new release of the operating system. You can also watch this video tutorial with the instructions to upgrade from version 1909 (or older release) to the Windows 10 May 2021 Update using the Media Creation Tool.

Installing the latest Windows 10 release should be an easy process, but you can use these recommendations to avoid problems during the upgrade process.